Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Long Island middle school bans hard balls and tag during recess

A Long Island, N.Y. middle school has taken the softening of America's youth up a notch by replacing hard balls on the playground with their cushiony Nerf counterparts during the students' recess period.

Students at the Port Washington school are restricted to using Nerf balls during a 20-minute recess period because they are playing in limited space while a construction project is underway, the school district said Tuesday.

The district posted a statement on its website, explaining the restriction was made for children's safety, after news reports circulated Monday that Weber Middle School students were banned from using hard balls, playing tag or doing cartwheels during recess.

The ban will apply to footballs, baseballs, soccer balls, lacrosse balls or any other equipment that might harm a child or school friends. Students will be allowed to play with the softer Nerf balls under teacher supervision.

"Some of these injuries can unintentionally become very serious so we want to make sure our children have fun, but are also protected," Dr. Kathleen Maloney, superintendent of Port Washington Schools, told CBS New York.

The district is nearing the end of a construction project at the middle school, the statement said, and because of the project, "there is limited space for the students to enjoy a 20-minute recess period."

With children so near one another, "it is not safe for them to be engaged in unstructured play with hard balls," the statement said. "Absent the confined space within which recess must temporarily be held, such restrictions would not be necessary."

The district reported that middle school students still are able to participate in structured activities with hard balls during gym and intramural athletics.

Sure there are mitigating circumstances surrounding the ban — but still... come on.

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